Prepopulated Radiology Report Templates: A Prospective Analysis of Error Rate and Turnaround Time
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- Hawkins, C.M., Hall, S., Hardin, J. et al. J Digit Imaging (2012) 25: 504. doi:10.1007/s10278-012-9455-9
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Current speech recognition software allows exam-specific standard reports to be prepopulated into the dictation field based on the radiology information system procedure code. While it is thought that prepopulating reports can decrease the time required to dictate a study and the overall number of errors in the final report, this hypothesis has not been studied in a clinical setting. A prospective study was performed. During the first week, radiologists dictated all studies using prepopulated standard reports. During the second week, all studies were dictated after prepopulated reports had been disabled. Final radiology reports were evaluated for 11 different types of errors. Each error within a report was classified individually. The median time required to dictate an exam was compared between the 2 weeks. There were 12,387 reports dictated during the study, of which, 1,173 randomly distributed reports were analyzed for errors. There was no difference in the number of errors per report between the 2 weeks; however, radiologists overwhelmingly preferred using a standard report both weeks. Grammatical errors were by far the most common error type, followed by missense errors and errors of omission. There was no significant difference in the median dictation time when comparing studies performed each week. The use of prepopulated reports does not alone affect the error rate or dictation time of radiology reports. While it is a useful feature for radiologists, it must be coupled with other strategies in order to decrease errors.